Faith in action: movies with a message

- It's gracing the silver screen and the airwaves alike: familiar storylines based on scripture.

"There's always a demand for good stories. And our best stories in our culture come from the Bible and ancient lore," said retired Tampa Tribune film critic Bob Ross.

A number of faith-based films have already come out this year, including "God's Not Dead 2", "Risen", and "Young Messiah". Just last month, Fox aired a live television event "The Passion", a contemporary re-telling of Jesus Christ's last hours on Earth. Narrator Tyler Perry explained why he jumped on board the production.

"There's got to be a balance here. Television and film are going one way, getting darker and darker and people are looking for the light, they are looking for god, they're looking for faith, they're looking for something that uplifts and feels great. That's why there's such a hunger for this type of programming," Perry said.

Another big name in Hollywood is headlining a faith-based story. Jennifer Garner stars in "Miracles from Heaven", in theaters now.

"It's so important that all of the media is not just cynical but we also use film to tell stories that encourage people and remind them that the world is a beautiful place," Garner said.

Academy Award-winner Morgan Freeman hosts "The Story of God", a 6-part series on National Geographic Channel.

"Morgan Freeman, of course to many of us is the voice of God, so he's perfect for this. He narrates this series of documentaries. Each one is on a different aspect of the world's religious faith. Not necessarily doctrinaire religion, but stories of origins and creations and the differences and similarities," Ross said.

It's a subject matter captivating audiences as far back as film's first beginnings, making it a mainstay for the entertainment industry.

"It's been around for 100 years, it's not going to go away. It will vary. I'm glad to see there's some of it left because some of the other movies are these very course, R-rated, not very pleasant stuff. It's good to know there's still an audience for people to think a little bit," Ross said.

Another big blockbuster to grace theater marquees this summer is "Ben-Hur". The film is based on a religious novel penned back in 1880. Morgan Freeman is among the all-star cast. The movie is out in theaters this August.

Up Next:

Up Next

  • Faith in action: movies with a message
  • Campaign to move Confederate statue meets fundraising goal
  • New genetic markers help flag breast cancer risk
  • 9-foot alligator kills woman's dog in St. Petersburg
  • Tropical Storm Harvey forms; heads toward eastern Caribbean
  • Driver charged with DUI after wreck on causeway
  • Florida's forensic investigators face range of challenges
  • Ebay stops Bay Area company from registering domain name
  • New court program tackles custody and dependency
  • Find out of you get cash in 'free cruise' robocall settment